TICO BULL – You need drinking water no matter where you go, but not all parts of the world can always guarantee clean, safe tap water.
A Traveller’s Guide to Tap Water is a handy guide that shows where drinking from the tap is okay, and where you’re better off doing further research on the subject.
The graphic seems to be a bit on the conservative side. Better safe than sick—but it’s important to keep in mind that brown in the guide doesn’t exactly mean “drink this water and you’ll die.”
Despite the guide placing Costa Rica in the brown, “unsafe water”, for the most part drinking water from the tap is fine.
In the Central Valley and larger communities there is no need to be too concerned, however, in remote rural areas tap water may not be safe to drink.
In Costa Rica, the State water and sewer utility, the AyA, do a pretty good job of bringing potable water to many corners of the country.
What amazes me often are expats (foreigners living in Costa Rica) complain about the tap water, they will never drink it, but do not think twice about the ice they use when they pour it into a glass that is most likely made with unfiltered tap water.
Costa Rica’s water is 100% drinkable, no filters no nothing.
Personally, I have a mental block when it comes to drinking tap water, in Costa Rica or anywhere else. I cook with it, rinse the veggies and lettuce, even use it to make my pancakes. To overcome my brain dead mental block, I use powdered drink mix (toronja is my favourite) in a 3-1 mix ratio.